“Kelemo’s Woman’ by Molara Wood is a short story about a young couple and tough decisions. Throughout the story Kelemo and Iriola can be seen arguing time and time again about what is going on currently in the country where they live. Kelemo is ready to be vigilant and do what he needs to do to help his country while Iriola is more hesitant and quiet due to the recent passing of her mother.
Then there is the question,, “Does Iriola truly have the freedom of choice?” In my opinion, no. I don’t believe she truly has a freedom of choice in this matter. One example from the story is, “I’m sorry, Iriola. I don’t mean to put you through this, but it’s better to be safe. What use are we to the struggle if we are killed? And you? You’re no use to your mother dead. Think about it! She would want you to get away in these circumstances; she would understand. Listen to what I am telling you!” Kelemo shook me. He spoke in short, urgent bursts. “We have to go. A contact from my student union days will be by the harbor in an hour. We’ve got to be there.”
“I cried and cried, hitting Kelemo repeatedly on the chest. He grabbed my hands and held me tighter to him.”
It may just be that he is trying to snap her back into reality after an overwhelming situation, but it also seems she is being forced into something that she thinks is a bad idea and she doesn’t want to do. Throughout the story she describes her actions as, uneasy and unsure, which is also another indicator that she doesn’t really have a say in what she is doing. She also cries out at one point that she has already sacrificed enough, which is in reference to her recently passed mother.
To conclude, for these reasons, I don’t believe she truly had the freedom of choice.
Growing My Hair Again is a story by Chika Unigwe that describes a young woman, Nneke’s, struggle with her abusive husband who has passed away.
Throughout the story we are constantly reminded of her husband Okpala’s “busy hands.” Until she further explained in very little detail what the busy hands actually symbolized, I felt a little confused. One moment where we are made aware of what is going on is when she states, “I saw flashes of lightning as Okpala pummeled me. And when he dragged me naked to the bed, all I could see was this huge darkness that started to consume me.” What Okpala is doing to Nneke becomes very apparent throughout this entire scene of their wedding, but this quote stuck out to me most.
After reading this story, I do believe that Nneke is a moral woman. I think a lot of people have their own definition of what is means to be a “moral person” or to have morals but, in my own personal opinion she is. When it comes to domestic violence, sexual assault etc., there is no reason to blame the victim. It all goes back to the old phrase, “you have to walk a mile in someone’s shoes before you’re so quick to judge.” Imagine being in Nneke’s position, someone who most likely is stronger or more powerful than you has this strange control over you and throws themselves on you and does horrible things. Scary, right?
After a while, I think the victims become so frightened of their perpetrators they don’t want to do anything that might upset them because they are afraid of what they might to do them. It’s sad but it is reality. I believe that in Nneke and Okpala’s relationship he forced her into making people believe they were in a happy and “normal” relationship which was not the case.
For putting herself through all of this I believe Nneke was a moral woman, because sadly she didn’t have much control or was to frightened to take control of what was happening to her.
A Wedding in Auschwitz by Rajko Djuric is a short story that discusses some of the horrid times during the Holocaust.
The importance of this story is to discuss and make people aware of what went on during this awful time in history. It is there to bring the narrator’s feelings to life and really capture what going through this horrendous time did to a person’s body and mind.
During the story dreams, omens, and signs are discussed throughout. This is of major importance because they help pull the reader into the story so they can actually feel what the narrator is feeling. Some examples would be, seeing her brother as a butterfly, the different clocks that were made of humans, the wedding in Auschwitz and the dreams of her parents and the devil. All of these specific portions of the story play a role in bringing the narrator’s feelings to life. Without the mention of these instances that the narrator went through the reader would not be able to truly understand it. Of these examples, the butterfly one really grabbed my attention.
“There’s Ari! Ari! Don’t you see my brother Ari?” “No. All I see is a big yellow butterfly, but not your brother Ar…” “I don’t agree to such risky and dangerous criteria of truth. How do you know this yellow butterfly is your brother?”
“How do I know? I see his face, his nose, his eyes, his hair. I know that the human mind is a moral acrobat, but my eyes have never fooled me.”
Although, her brother may not have actually been in front of her in the form of a butterfly, her mind made her truly believe that she was seeing her brother while others didn’t believe her.
“The Danger of a Single Story,” a speech given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a captivating speech that discusses why only knowing a single story about someone or even something can sway the way people view it. One phrase that really caught my attention was, “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” I’ve never really thought about stereotypes that way before listening to this TED Talk, it never occurred to me that maybe people are prone to thinking this way because they just don’t know any better. How can you expect someone who has never lived the way someone else has or experienced something other than what they know as “everyday life,” to be able to make any sort of judgement besides a stereotype.
I think this TED Talk is really important. I think the way Adichie explains the single story is amazing. She never talked down on people and didn’t get angry with people for not knowing. Instead, she would rather tell more stories to educate those who only know the single story. An example of this, is when she discusses a time she spoke at a university and a student assumes that all Nigerian men are physical abusers like she had written in her novel. She then states that although it would’ve never occurred to her that someone would think this way just from reading her novel, that it didn’t make her better than that student.
Having only a single story of a person leaves a lot of things unknown. You can’t truly say you know someone without hearing more than a single story about them. I think it is important to know more than this single story because, like the famous quote “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” states, you can’t jump to conclusions without really getting to know them.
To conclude, a beautiful quote from Adichie, “The consequence of the single story is this: It robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.”